Reading Response 1- Chris Willem

Week 2

Chris Willem

            In terms of assessment, I liken formative and summative assessments to practice and a performance or game. In my classroom, in preparation for an exam I usually tell my students, “Would you show up to a basketball game without first dribbling and shooting the ball, or step up to the mic before you ever warmed-up your voice and practiced singing?” The formative assessments are the checkpoints before the finish line, or so I thought. After reading this week’s material, I discovered that assessment is much more than the simplistic view of completing a unit with markers along the way. In, Theory into Practice, the author advises the major difference in assessment, “Formative assessment involves gathering data for improving student learning, whereas summative assessment uses data to assess about how much a student knows or has retained at the completion of a learning sequence…” (Dixson 153).

            Formative assessment deals with feedback and growth more so than anything else. The formative data computation is only useful if put to use to keep revising or reteaching when understanding is low, and differentiating and higher rigor when understanding is adequate or above average. A teacher cannot expect to have little or no communication between students and their work, and expect high achievement in the class. In my experiences during my undergraduate tenure, I had several classes with only a mid-term and final exam; no formative assessments. There was a clear disconnect from the professor to the students and we had to be extremely vigilant to each lesson to take notes. In my classroom, I strive to use that experience to create an open line of communicate and safe environment for consistent feedback and provide as many formative assessments and observations as I can. I use a numerical tracker on a daily basis to somehow gather data about student understanding and even student engagement and/or student behavior. This daily tracker allows me to organize my data and give input and communicate with my students easily, however my prior misconception was that any feedback is positive feedback.

            In reading The Power of Feedback I agreed with the notion that communicative feedback needs to be provided at appropriate times. If a student under-performs during their summative assessment, it is actually ill-advised to tell a student where they should have performed in hopes of motivating them for the next unit. In this reading, the author describes a study conducted on feedback and reviewing student scores, “In addition, when the (feedback) was administered in a controlling manner (e.g., saying that students performed as they “should” have performed) the effects were even worse (–0.78).” (Hattie 84).

            The study shows that administering feedback afterwards proves to have a negative impact on student performance. An additional study as described in Formative Assessment and Feedback: Making Learning Visible, a similar trend was fond with timing, “On the other hand, both teachers and students reported more extensive feedback while students were working on assignments than on completed works.” (Havnes 23).

The timing of the feedback is just as important as the feedback itself. Constructive criticisms are useful when relaying diagnostic information to a student, but the way it is conveyed has a great impact on how it is interpreted by the student. I now believe that there needs to be a great deal of constant formative assessment with viable positive feedback, especially with the middle school age group that I teach.

 

References

 

Dixson, D. D., & Worrell, F. C. (2016). Formative and summative assessment in the classroom. Theory into practice, 55(2), 153-159.

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of educational research, 77(1), 81-112.

Havnes, A., Smith K., Dysthe, O., & Ludvigsen, K. (2012). Formative assessment and feedback: Making learning visible. Studies in Education Evaluation, 38(1), 21-27.

 

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito

      Chris,

      I really appreciated the ways that you connected these readings with your own experiences as an undergraduate student and, more importantly, with your own practice as a teacher.

      These two insights really stuck out for me:

      The formative assessments are the checkpoints before the finish line, or so I thought. After reading this week’s material, I discovered that assessment is much more than the simplistic view of completing a unit with markers along the way.

      and

      I now believe that there needs to be a great deal of constant formative assessment with viable positive feedback, especially with the middle school age group that I teach.

      As we move along in the second half of the course towards a deeper application of the core ideas of assessment to your own practice, I look forward to seeing how these insights deepen and expands.

       

      • Christopher Willem
        Christopher Willem

        Hi Professor,

        I'm glad you appreciated the connection between my role as a graduate student and teacher. I always try to keep in mind how I would feel in my classroom as a student. I have to keep an open mind and be open to the viewpoint of other perspectives to make sure I balance my attention in my room. Being a student here at Pace helps me relate to my own students, and I usually tell them I have homework to do myself when I hear the whining and disgust over assigned work. 

        After reading about assessments in the course readings I have determined they are more than just gauges to extract data from. I think that after the culmination of our units and the state exams, there are different techniques to assess students and aid their growth. Using the understand by design is a method I have read about and tried to incorporate in my curriculum, however it was not until the end of the unit that I understood the importance of pacing and planing ahead of time. It is a tough burden to plan lessons on a whim and differentiate when a teacher must go back and reteach or redo a lesson. Using the feedback my students either say, or tracking their performance through formative assessments is no less important than their summative assessments.

        -Chris Willem

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